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Dingle Skellig Hotel: on Europe’s most westerly peninsula

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Located on a scenic west of Ireland peninsula in County Kerry, the 113-room Dingle Skellig Hotel has the Atlantic Ocean in its back yard and the lively, quaint town of Dingle, a mere ten-minute walk away.
As such, activities for guests are plentiful.
Built in 1969, the three-floor hotel is stands on a large tract of land, with a manicured grassy area out front beside an off-road parking lot with lawn fixtures reflecting local archaeological finds including replicas of ancient standing stones, Celtic beehive huts as well as a medieval turret.
A small wooden bridge crosses a man-made pond. Immediately inside, echoing the strong nautical connections of the area, a brass capstan stands in the middle of an open lobby (another capstan is located nearby). Just beyond is a wide corridor, its walls decorated with paintings from the local Green Lane Gallery. On the floor, terracotta and red stone mosaic sections are interspersed with carpeted areas. Comfortable armchairs dispersed throughout offer easy relaxation, with glass display cabinets filled with porcelain figurines, cutlery, Dingle crystal and Celtic jewelry to attract the curious.
Nearby, the Blasket Bar, named after the Blasket Islands offshore, has two separate rooms, both featuring multi-colored carpeting, leather chairs and cherry-wood tables. The smaller one in the rear, where lunch is served, has a decorative fireplace, a grandfather clock and a small wine cellar, with watercolors on its walls depicting ‘wrenboys’ and ‘mummers’ celebrations, traditional winter customs dating from Pagan times featuring people in rustic costumes.
Across a narrow corridor is a large sitting room in tones of dark red, orange, plum and crimson, with yellow butter wallpaper, oak wood radiator covers and a high, peaked, church-like ceiling. Armchairs, some with a tartan motif, provide comfortable seating, with views across Dingle Bay. A series of colorful oil paintings, both still-life and landscape, by Julie Beckett, adorn the walls while ornate standing lamps, a piano and an open fireplace with stone surround help create a warm, cozy atmosphere.
Between the two rooms is a glass-encased inner garden courtyard decorated with boulders and flowering plants with various replica road-signs pointing the way to bedrooms, the bar, the restaurant and even, amusingly, towards New York. Throughout the hotel, wooden doors are decorated with stained-glass illustrations, many depicting rustic Irish scenes including one of three fishermen carrying a traditional Irish wooden boat known as a curragh on their shoulders.
Breakfast, served in the Coastguard Restaurant, is substantial, with a comprehensive buffet and hot-meals on order. The dinner menu is also varied with sake and wasabi cured local salmon, served with pickled ginger as well as grilled scallops with roasted pork belly accompanied by award-winning black pudding from the nearby town of Annascaul of particular note as starters. The quality of main dishes is no lesser - Chinese five-spice duck breast with a crispy skin but tender inside, accompanied by a confit and roast rack of lamb, medium cooked, with a mustard and corn flour crust, soft and full of flavor - with croquette of shoulder and golden raisins garlic jus.
The Dingle Skellig Hotel has a comprehensive fitness area featuring a 16-meter, three-lane pool (the only swimming pool in Dingle so make sure you get there early, especially on weekends, to enjoy it), a steam room, Jacuzzi and gym. On the walls along the corridor outside the leisure area is an interesting photo-print-drawing exhibition including works by artist Maria Simonds-Goooding and local children focusing on Dingle’s most famous marine visitor, Fungi the dolphin. This friendly mammal has been entertaining visitors with his antics on the bay for the last 25 years, creating brisk tourist business for the excursion boats.
The Dingle Skellig Hotel is primarily a family hotel and caters to this particular clientele with a crèche, a so-called ‘teen zone’ and a cinema room. Having a large ballroom with terrific ‘photo-op’ views out through the sea channel, it also does excellent business in weddings as well as corporate events.
The hotel also operates a spa, the highlight of which is a wonderfully located, open-air Jacuzzi facing out on to the bay.
Chilled drinks, hot water and teabags and various fresh fruits, mainly grapes, are left for customer use in an anteroom beside a relaxation area with several chaise lounges.
With its prime location beside the Atlantic and its closeness to Dingle town and the scenic Slea Head means the Skellig Hotel provides convenience for a leisurely tour of Ireland’s southwest coast, with warm, friendly service.

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